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Maryland Air National Guard Unit Returns from Iraq

Staff Sgt. James Beck, a member of the Maryland Air National Guard, is greeted by his wife at BWI airport upon his arrival home from Iraq, Mar. 7, 2008.

Staff Sgt. James Beck, a member of the Maryland Air National Guard, is greeted by his wife at BWI airport upon his arrival home from Iraq, Mar. 7, 2008.

Staff Sgt. James Beck smiles with his wife and child after arriving at BWI airport after being deployed in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. James Beck smiles with his wife and child after arriving at BWI airport after being deployed in Iraq.

BALTIMORE -- The Maryland Air National Guard today welcomed home 27 members of the 175th Security Forces Squadron from their six-month deployment to Sather Air Base at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. 

The Guardsmen were activated in July 2007 and attended pre-deployment training at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., before deploying to Baghdad. Since that time, the unit has been conducting air base defense and security missions as well as protective service operations for visiting dignitaries, including the Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

"The 175th Security Forces Squadron has been the workhorse of the Maryland National Guard and has made us proud time and time again," said Maj. Gen. Bruce F. Tuxill, the adjutant general of Maryland. "Their service and sacrifice - as well as the sacrifices of their families and employers - are what keep this nation and this state safe and secure."
This was the squadron's twelfth significant overseas deployment since Sept. 11, 2001, and their second deployment to Iraq. In addition, the unit deployed a task force to Louisiana in 2005 to assist in relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

A patriotic crowd of family, friends and other well-wishers were on hand at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to greet the returning Airmen. In addition to the Airmen who returned today, a final group of three is expected this weekend. 

More than 1,400 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the Maryland National Guard are currently serving on active duty in the Global War on Terror. Since 9/11 nearly 7,400 Soldiers and Airmen have been called to support Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Jump Start and in the relief effort for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.